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Old Aug 02, 2010, 12:46 PM
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MO, USA
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Why the hate on foamies (not here, but in general)?

I'm not sure if this is the proper forum. If it isn't, I apologize, and ask a mod to please move it.

I'm recently returning to RC aircraft, after a 15 or so year hiatus. My "knock the rust off" aircraft are electric birds; the HobbyZone SuperCub, and ParkZone T28. This, in spite of the fact that I've got a fleet of glow birds in the loft, ranging from a RTF Eagle II trainer through an incomplete Model Tech P51D. I went electric for the same reasons many of you did; close, convenient areas to fly, lack of required field gear, lack of mess, etc.

As I've been getting back up to speed on things RC related (WOW have prices dropped!), I've noticed semi-consistent bagging on foam planes. Not so much here (as I would expect, having a large electric membership), but other places and some FTF conversations.

I'm curious why the hate towards foam planes? I could understand why a large scale warbird flier might not have good things to say about a park flyer wing built from blue Lowe's foam. Why, however, would a warbird pilot bag on something like the FMS P-51, just because it's foam? I've seen stick-built kits come out uglier or less "true scale" than the FMS. Or how about a PZ P51?

Unlike a lot of flyers I've met, I like to spend my time actually flying the plane. Many people I've met like to spend their time building, or modding, or will only fly in "perfect" weather, etc. That's fine, but I want to fly! I enjoy flying in windy / gust weather, seeing if I can make that sketchy cross-wind landing in the 3-ch HZ SC, etc. I feel the vast selection of foamies out there fill my desire to have a "scale-ish" plane, yet not have to spend the time to build. In addition to that time saver, you have easy repairs, durability, etc.

Dont' get me wrong...prior to the HZ SC and the PZ T28, all my models have been balsa built, or at least balsa ARF's. I'm not prejudiced against balsa, either. In fact, I suspect a balsa plane may have the higher chance of remaining "in the fleet" for years and years. But as a cheap, durable, physically attractive way to flay...it's hard to beat foamies.

So...to make a short question long...why are so many people biased against the foam models / kits?
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Old Aug 02, 2010, 12:54 PM
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Mark Wood's Avatar
United States, CA, Bear Valley Springs
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Meh. Why do Chevy people hate on Fords, etc.

Foamys are great until the plane gets over a couple of pounds, imo. Then it's time to look at balsa or even composites if a sailplane. Otherwise, foamys allow people to fly with less worry of a crash which puts the fun back innit for many people and one of the reasons this hobby is growing the way it is.

mw (and his )
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Old Aug 02, 2010, 01:02 PM
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MO, USA
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Originally Posted by Mark Wood View Post
Meh. Why do Chevy people hate on Fords, etc.
That I can understand. I just didn't know if there was some logical rationale behind it, or if it's simply a crusty old "that's not how we did it when I was a kid, so it's WRONG!" kind of thing.

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Originally Posted by Mark Wood View Post
Foamys are great until the plane gets over a couple of pounds, imo. Then it's time to look at balsa or even composites if a sailplane.
I'm curious what you mean by this. I'm unsure if you're talking about flying characteristics, rigidity, power requirements, etc. I have no skin in this either way, so I'm just curious about the reasoning here. Maybe when I try larger foamies it'll become readily apparent to me.

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Originally Posted by Mark Wood View Post
Otherwise, foamys allow people to fly with less worry of a crash which puts the fun back innit for many people and one of the reasons this hobby is growing the way it is.
You hit the nail on the head here. The ability to get a lot of (IMO) cool planes in the air quickly (and for a relatively small $$) is certainly part of the appeal to me. I understand and agree that foamies aren't likely to look as good, for as long, as balsa planes. Foamies compress, get finger indentations, etc. You can peel the covering from a balsa plane, fabricate new parts, re-cover, and have a like-new looking plane when the repair is finished. I think foamies usually end up with visible cracks, "scrunched" noses, and lines of yellow Gorilla Glue visible. However, the cost / ease / rapid time from purchase to flying outweigh these shortcomings, IMO.

If I want a gorgeous scale plane, that I hope to look great and fly great for years and years, I think a balsa plane is probably the way to go. But if I just want to go out and have fun with a plane that looks pretty darn good, flies well, is easy to repair, inexpensive, quick to fly, and can ultimately be considered "disposable" with minimal shedding of tears...then a foamie seems to fit the bill.
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Old Aug 02, 2010, 01:33 PM
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Miami, FL
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People hate because Balsa planes are a lot heavier and they are harder to control 3d at slow speeds.

If built right and light a foamie can float at walking speed where as a heavier balsa Yak or Edge would have to have a little more speed to do the same harrier or it would fall out of the air.

They call us cheaters but I call it practice.

Just my 2 cents.

_______

I'm curious what you mean by this. I'm unsure if you're talking about flying characteristics, rigidity, power requirements, etc. I have no skin in this either way, so I'm just curious about the reasoning here. Maybe when I try larger foamies it'll become readily apparent to me.

I think he meant that once your foamy is no longer light and right and starts flying like a heavy balsa model so you may as well just fly one.
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Old Aug 02, 2010, 01:34 PM
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Miami, FL
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Foam ftw!
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Old Aug 02, 2010, 01:59 PM
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South Wales U.K.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Wood View Post
Meh. Why do Chevy people hate on Fords, etc.

Foamys are great until the plane gets over a couple of pounds, imo. Then it's time to look at balsa or even composites if a sailplane. Otherwise, foamys allow people to fly with less worry of a crash which puts the fun back innit for many people and one of the reasons this hobby is growing the way it is.

mw (and his )
They don't have to be limited to two pounds and under, my SBD Dauntless is 67" span and weighs just under 5lbs flying, my Sunderland flying boat is 90" span and weighs just over 7lbs flying, both are 'foamies', built in Depron foam.

As a 'balsa basher' of many many years, Depron foam is about the nearest thing to balsa I have come across.
Also Big Floyd at 50ft span, (I don't know the weight), is another 'foamie'.

The foams are just more materials we can build with just like balsa is another material.
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Old Aug 02, 2010, 02:04 PM
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Old Aug 02, 2010, 02:27 PM
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Everyone has a preference. Some people like the way balsa flies, others like the way foam flies.
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Old Aug 02, 2010, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Xpress.. View Post
Everyone has a preference. Some people like the way balsa flies, others like the way foam flies.
And then some like the way balsa repairs and others like the way foam repairs.

mw
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Old Aug 02, 2010, 03:44 PM
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Just like cars, it's all a matter of personal preference. Don't let someone else's opinion bother you.

Tony
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Old Aug 02, 2010, 04:07 PM
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Just like cars, it's all a matter of personal preference. Don't let someone else's opinion bother you.

Tony
True to a point, but there is pro's and con's of both.


I look at it more along the lines of what you want to do.

foamies are quick to build, cheap and can do almost anything, but perform badly in wind, but can withstand a good crash. balsa will perform better in wind, and can do everything a flat foamie can, and the balsa can support a higher load.


Some of it is personal preference, but you wouldn't fly combat with a balsa that took you 120 hours to build!

Then there are some people that just hate because it's different.
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Old Aug 02, 2010, 04:16 PM
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I fly fuel planes because I like the IC engines. I could build the same plane electric, but to me it is not the same. On the other hand, I have a fleet of electric foamies I regularly fly. For me, the two types combined suit my preferences.

There is no doubt that, comparatively speaking, foamies are quicker and easier. In my opinion, you need less experience for a foamie because landings are not so critical (this is not to say that experienced people don't like to fly them). Maybe some flyers look down on foamies becasue just about anyone can learn on them without going through the traditional training, bronze wings etc.
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Old Aug 02, 2010, 04:44 PM
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Something I've run into time and time again is that there are alot of people who hate it when they think that new folks have it "Too easy" By golly they worked hard and paid their dues to get flying, and think that you should too. This isn't exclusive to RC, I've seen it everywhere.
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Old Aug 02, 2010, 05:03 PM
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There are a lot of "elitists" that monopolized the hobby for a few generations.They feel threatened by the influx of the lower middle working class buying cheap, foam, RTF, electrics, etc. and living their dream for pennies on the dollar and seconds on the hour. Point is they are jealous.

Same thing probably happened when Ford supplied the working class with cars. Same will happen in the future when you won't have to be rich to own/fly a real personal aircraft
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Old Aug 02, 2010, 05:12 PM
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Dallas, Texas
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Too bad foam carries the "cheap" stigma. Id like to see someone try to engineer and under 2 pound warbird with all the nicely textured details ALONG with gentle flight characteristics made out of wood or composite.
Designs like the PZ Trojan has brought r/c to the masses in a way that deserves the utmost respect, whether it floats ur boat, or not.
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